Contador turns on the heat

Costa wins 16th stage, Froome stays in overall lead

Contador turns on the heat

Alberto Contador showed he was prepared to risk everything to win the Tour de France on Tuesday, crashing on the final descent as he tried to attack overall leader Chris Froome.

Team Sky rider Froome, who was on Contador's wheel, had to move round the Spaniard and briefly went off the road himself before both riders rejoined a group of favourites who crossed the line 11 minutes eight seconds behind stage-16 winner Rui Costa of Portugal.

“He came through very quickly and struggled to keep control of his bike and crashed just in front of me,” Froome told a news conference. “I went off to the left slightly off the road so I had to unclip.

“He was taking too many risks down there. I personally think teams are getting desperate now, therefore taking uncalculated risks.”

Froome still leads Dutch rider Bauke Mollema by 4:14 and Contador by 4:25 going into Wednesday's 32-km individual time trial between Embrun and Chorges. Contador, who seemed unhurt after crossing the line, was unapologetic and promised there would be more attacks to come. “It is not a motivation to scare the others but sometimes you have to do it. I will continue,” said Contador.

Froome is expected to extend his overall lead in the 17th stage before two gruelling stages in the Alps.

The first of them features the very tricky descent from the Col de Sarenne sandwiched in between two climbs of l'Alpe d'Huez. Having shown his rivals that he is almost impossible to drop in the climbs, Froome can expect to come under fire again on the downhills.

“I have seen this descent in training and also in the Criterium du Dauphine and it is very dangerous," Froome said.

Movistar rider Costa won the stage after pulling away from the day's breakaway group to tackle the second-category climb to the Col de Manse alone.

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